Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
29 July 2019
Starbucks Delivers requires a new brand focus
Well, it’s official now. With Starbucks Delivers going nationwide next year, the Starbucks brand is no longer about the experience of being at a Starbucks.
Not that this is a bad thing. Food delivery is the newest and very profitable trend among grocery stores, restaurants and other outlets.
In fact, Uber Eats will operate the Starbucks Delivers service. Along with GrubHub and DoorDash, Uber Eats stands among the largest food delivery services out there.
Starbucks is simply hopping on the trend, and I don’t blame it. It’s just that market trends are forcing the chain to redefine its brand.
It’s not only Starbucks Delivers that causes a rethinking of its brand. Not long ago, Starbucks announced it was no longer carrying newspapers at its locations. That’s simply following a trend of print newspapers being replaced by digital.
When Starbucks exploded, and some time after, its brand was defined by the experience at being at a Starbucks. It held an aroma, a casual place to sit and you could log onto its Wi-Fi – and read a newspaper.
That experience still exists in some form. But it no longer defines the Starbucks brand.
“With Starbucks Delivers, its focus is no longer on that in-store experience. And that means it must redefine its brand or it’ll just get lumped with all the other chains that deliver.”
Starbucks Delivers just one of the many market forces forcing change
What’s the next step? Now Starbucks, with the Starbucks Delivers service and other features (including drive-thru windows), feels undefined. What does the brand stand for now? How would you define the brand face of a Starbucks customer?
At the moment, Starbucks only means big. And coffee. It’s a big coffee retailer. On its website, Starbucks says its mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Whatever the hell that means.
Starbucks still insists it’s about “a rewarding coffeehouse experience” and “a neighborhood gathering place.” Its locations can still serve as those, I suppose. But much less so.
With Starbucks Delivers, its focus is no longer on that in-store experience. And that means it must redefine its brand or it’ll just get lumped with all the other chains that deliver.
Meaning, nothing much.
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